28 October 2007

Progress On The Art Front

It's not a very good picture, but I've been a little arty lately, and that makes me happy :) It's a piece that I've been working on for Hands-On, a group of women that get together once a month to work on art/crafts together in a supportive environment. A couple of months ago, we were each assigned a theme and given complete freedom in how we brought that theme into fruition. My theme was "prosperity" and this is my result. I'm happy with how it turned out, especially given my recent dry spell. I'll try for a better picture, though.

I've been quiet for the past week because I was tired of nattering on about the same things, with nothing new to express. I was boring myself, so I can only image how I was boring you!

17 October 2007

Process vs. Product

Thanks so much to Life is the Art for pointing to this great post over at Scott H Young. Both articles have some really great things to say about process vs. product, something you know I've been struggling with.

I've not put it into those words, but that's what my Art struggles boil down to, isn't it? Somewhere along the line, I've lost the joy of doing Art for the sake of Art; I get too focused on the end results, wanting mine to look as good as the next person's. Well, as Max Ehrmann's Desiderata says: "If you compare yourself with others,/you may become vain and bitter;/for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself." I think that's what I've become ... a bit bitter.

Scott says, "When you approach an area of life from a process focus, you see the entire path, not the goal as the reason to start. Run a business because you love running a business... Interest in the process is more important than the result of a goal." That's what I've lost, the interest in the process. I am, thank God, slowly gaining it back. Since I've started my art journal, I'm remembering the joy of doing art for the sheer joy of it. I'm remembering how much pleasure comes simply from smearing paint on paper, with no rhyme or reason.

Go read both posts -- you'll be a little richer for it!

16 October 2007

Three Words

Thanks to my friend Jill for passing this on to me via email. It made me stop and think.

What are my three words? I AM AFRAID.

I aim to change that.

13 October 2007

11 October 2007

From My Journal ...

Last week I watched a 6-year-old DRAW, and she was just FEARLESS. She turned out drawing after drawing w/o worrying about how good they were -- and they were good! -- or about proper composition. She just drew with JOY and ABANDON. It was happy to watch her, but it begs the question -- What am I afraid of? Why is the perception of quality more important than the JOY I experience? Where did this notion come from -- that I had to be "GOOD" to do art? Suzi reminds me -- this ART JOURNAL reminds me -- of what it is like to draw & paint for the sheer pleasure of it. Just splashing colors on paper, playing with crayons and rubber stamps with no DESIGN in mind, just throwing them on paper because it's FUN. JOY, I tell -- that's what my life is missing, what I need more of. And I think I'll find it on the colors on the page, the smell of paint as it dries, ribbons flowing from the cover and FEARLESS ART rather than "GOOD" ART.

Oh, to be six again!

09 October 2007

Who Am I? -- Assignment From SuziBlu

The latest SuziBlu Assignment has us writing a letter to her, but stapling it in our journals, about who we are. A completely positive letter, by the way, no negatives allowed. Do you know how hard this is to do? First of all, I came to the realization that, in my 40s, I don't really know who I am. This is something that I've struggled with since my 20s. I'm a bunch of labels -- John's wife, bi-polar, a wannabe artist, an Aquarian, etc. -- but even if you understand all of those labels and how they apply to me, you still don't know who I am. Hell, I don't know who I am!

Here's a copy of the letter that I wrote for my assignment and have ready to staple into my new art journal:

Dear Suzi,

Thank you for asking who I am. I'm not sure I know, but I'll do my best to share what I think with you.

You already know me as the "Bi-Polar Princess". That's not a negative; that's just a fact of life for me. Sometimes up and sometimes down and sometimes an even keel. It's interesting, to say the least, to live in my shoes.

What do I do? I love my husband, first & foremost. We've been together for about 11 years, married for almost nine years. He's my best-friend, the person I most like to be with. He's also my biggest fan & greatest supporter. I'm a good wife. We have three delightful cats -- Frankie, B'Orange, and Nana -- and I'm a good "mommy" to them. They are my babies.

What else do I do? I write in my blog, sometimes about art, sometimes just about my life. I write fairly well, it's one of my talents. I don't know if anyone reads it regularly, but I blog for me. I enjoy writing and putting myself out there. I enjoy sharing myself.

When I'm able to, I love to sleep. I especially enjoy the sweet feeling of falling asleep. I don't always experience that feeling, but cherish it when I do. I enjoy dreaming. Lately, I've been dreaming about art more and more. I like those dreams.

I make art. Although I strive to make the best art I can, I don't really worry about quality. I do it because it makes my heart happy. I do the best I can, of course, but my main goal is to immerse myself in the process and have FUN playing with my materials. I look forward to your lessons, as right now I'm in a bit of a dry spell, idea-wise. Your lessons are like prompts that give me ideas. La la la, I'm making ART baby! It's scary, to make art, but you help me do it anyway. You are helping me make art in a new way. You are helping me find more JOY in it. I love to paint, even if it's just painting layer upon layer to create a groovy background. Even gesso-ing feels good and makes me happy.

What else do I do? I thank policemen, firemen, and especially soldiers-in-uniform for their service. I make friends with grocery store clerks. I'm shy, nervous & anxious, but on good days, I strike up conversations with strangers. My husband says that I can make a new best friend every where I go. For the most part I like people; they have interesting stories to tell.

My talents? I'm not sure. I've been told that I have the gift of gab, that I can talk to anyone about anything. I'm not sure that's true, but it's nice to think so. I'm a reasonably good cook, a good wife, a good friend. I'm articulate; I communicate well. I'm good with numbers and fairly good with logic. I have a good sense of humor and occasionally tell a good story.

One of my talents is loving my body -- it's something I'm learning to do. It has served me well even though I haven't always taken very good care of it. It's large & soft & squishy. My favorite parts are my breasts (even though they are kind of floppy), my toes, my hair, and my smile. Liking my smile is new, but then, my smile is new. Last month, I had extensive dental work done and now my smile is pretty again. Shy, but pretty.

Why am I lovable? I have no idea! If I knew that I probably wouldn't be in therapy! Seriously, I think I am lovable -- and you are lovable -- because we are children of the Universe. We deserve love simply because WE ARE.

My hopes and dreams are simple. I hope to live a good life: One that, when I come to the end of it, I can be satisfied. I dream of creating something -- visual or literary -- that touches someone. I hope my marriage thrives. I dream of being not just understood by another person, but *experienced* by another. I want to make art. To use your term, I want to live "juicy".

Thank you again for asking who I am. This was a good exercise for me to do. I'm looking forward to the next part of the assignment.


07 October 2007

Art Journaling Self Portrait

Last week's exercise in art journaling from Suzi Blu was to do a self portrait. She stressed that it didn't have to look like me. She said not to get all uptight about it; just draw an outline and fill in the colors. That's what I did. I know it's no great work of art, but it brought me joy to do. I made a commitment when I started these exercises that I was going to do all of them (I still haven't done the one with the brads and the pockets) and that I was going to share my results. So, even though this was scary to do -- and even scarier to share, here it is.

La la la, Suzi Blu!

PostSecret Video on YouTube

I'm a big fan of the PostSecret Project. You should be, too!